An essential responsibility of the Office of Project Management and Evaluation (PME) is the oversight of all EERE Recovery Act projects. As part of this oversight, PME recently conducted a review of the project management process for Recovery Act projects implemented by the national laboratories and managed by the DOE site offices. Over the course of six weeks, PME team members conducted interviews with nine selected site offices. PME reviewed project data, monitoring reports, site specific procedures, and best practices. The resulting report showed that sound project management principles were being applied in the oversight of $600 million of Recovery Act projects.
The findings outlined in the final report are overwhelmingly positive. Site offices and the labs are maintaining an active level of communication, appropriately monitoring Recovery Act projects, and meeting fundamental reporting requirements. The site offices have identified qualified staff with project management experience to manage Recovery Act projects -- with some offices forming central offices to manage DOE Recovery Act projects. Several site offices took the oversight a step further and developed Integrated Project Teams based on guidance published in the DOE Order for managing Recovery Act awards. All of the monitoring teams had existing project monitoring processes in place that were then applied to Recovery Act projects, while some offices developed additional monitoring tools specifically for Recovery Act projects.
During the review meetings, site offices also provided details on which processes and procedures fthey ound to be most effective. Most of the best practices identified centered on steps taken to improve communication between site offices, the labs, and headquarters. Site offices found that with improved communication and collaboration between themselves and the labs, they were able to better tackle the additional DOE requirements that accompanied Recovery Act funding. Other best practices included: developing Recovery Act specific monitoring reporting tools for both desktop and onsite reviews; communication checklists and tracking; and new guidelines in order to comply with the Recovery Act federal reporting standards. PME’s final report determined that the site offices and labs were well-equipped to handle the monitoring and reporting associated with Recovery Act projects.